Game Recap: Cubs 3, Braves 2, an extra-inning nightmare
There was no moment more sickening last night than when the Braves spoiled a Ted Lilly's good performance by tying the game in the 7th. Scratch that -- it got real sickening when it went to extra innings for the second straight night.
It's not that I lack faith in the Cubs' ability to win extra inning games. No, my problem is more that the Cubs bullpen is built of balling wire and bubble gum right now and any game in which they are turned to excessively is a game that will be tough for the team to win.
Fortunately, the Cubs pulled out all the stops pitching-wise, turning to the Marmol-Guzman tandem for 3 straight innings. Marmol in particular has been spotty, especially with his control, but he was balls-to-the-walls last night* and Guzman was his usual untouchable self. I'm pretty sure that it was Goat Reader HarryCaray who proclaimed in Spring that Guzman would be important to the '09 team and so far he's been spot-on in that regard.
(*Disclaimer: I'm not actually sure what "balls-to-the-walls" means)
The only problem is that after the Cubs managed to snatch the lead in the 11th, thanks to a rare Hoffpauir-Lee tandem, Piniella turned to Kevin "Better Dead Than" Gregg for the save. Surprisingly it was mission accomplished. But I'll reiterate what I said yesterday evening... the Cubs need to re-assess their bullpen and Gregg needs a new role. And if even Marmol can't handle the job, then at least the Cubs would know it and could add "closer" to their trade deadline wish list.
Incidentally, I wanted to note that Derrek Lee is now batting .263. Hardly the stuff of legend but not bad for a washed up double play machine. All told every Cub regular except Three Finger got at least one hit last night. The Cubs need to better capitalize on their success at getting on and play for the series win tonight.
UPDATE FROM Yarbage: So, for the second straight night I made my way to the "Ted", only to see an extra inning game. I could really use a blowout tonight, but I doubt we'll get it with the pitching match up.
There were a few things that caught my eye last night from the stands. First off, the Cubs should really hold a bunting practice all day today. I'm not a fan of giving up outs, but if Lou's going to keep sending up people to bunt, they have to get it down. My buddy, Scott Lange, couldn't even watch when Ryan Theriot tried to lay down a bunt late in the game.
I never saw the replay, but it was nice to see Geovanny Soto throw out somebody. At this point, we'll take anything.
Finally, I hope the Braves get some bad luck tonight after cutting Tom Glavine to avoid a roster bonus. The players and fans had no clue that it had happened. We found out from somebody that got to the game about the second inning. I understand that Tommy Hanson is going to be a star, but you just don't treat players that way. If you were going to cut him, then why have him go through all that rehab?
If the rain holds off, I will add something for the game later.